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Book Title: In Search of the Old Ones|
Date of issue: March 6th 1996
ISBN 13: 9780684810782
The author of the book: David Roberts
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.56 MB
Edition: Simon & Schuster
Read full description of the books In Search of the Old Ones:Sometimes you get the book you want. Sometimes you get the book you need. That was definitely the case here.
Before my review: a confession. There are parts of me that are the worst kind of poetry loving, new-agey idiot. Examples: At times I wear an amethyst around my neck for "inspiration". I recently started eating kale for breakfast. And one of my dreams is to go on a yoga retreat in the desert. So when I saw this book in the library it shouldn't be surprising that my first thought was, "Ooooh Anasazi. They might have been taken by aliens." I was very excited.
But a hippy-dippy treatise on the Ancients this is not. Oh no. First of all, David Roberts is an amateur archaeologist and I bet he'd rather be caught dead than mention aliens. Secondly, he's oddly obsessed with the history of Southwestern archaeology, which at times is kind of dull. The first fifty pages were a definite let down.
I decided to press on however, because the subject matter was still interesting, and pretty soon something began to happen. The book stopped being about white men walking through the desert and became a story about a kind of extreme journeying and those who are driven to undertake it. Whether it be the Anasazi themselves who constructed these impossible cliff and canyon dwellings, or the first men who sought out their relics in uninhabited places, or even the author and the people he encounters still looking for them now. They're all searching for a kind of transcendent experience, and amazingly enough, they find it.
This is exactly what I'd gone to the library looking for: mythic beauty and transcendent poetic experience. I needed something to lift me out of a year long reading rut of mediocre novels that were perfectly well-written but utterly passionless. I wanted a book that would make me look at my own life, and the daily grind with a toddler and my work and trips to the grocery store, and remember that transcendent experience is still possible.
And it is, you know. Right now, for example, just a thousand miles from my Los Angeles home, is an Anasazi jar. It sits at the unreachable edge of an unreachable canyon, untouched for a millennium. Imagine standing in front of that jar without another soul in sight. Nothing but you, the hot sun, and that jar. Doesn't get more transcendent than that.
I don't know exactly what David Roberts thinks this book is about (honestly, it wants to be a lot of things), but ultimately that's what it was about for me: people searching for something bigger than they are. And if the new-agey, amethyst wearing part of myself needs to, she can even go one step farther and say that it's really a reminder to look around the corners of our own life for those unexpected mythic experiences. They're out there if we're brave enough (and perhaps, curious enough) to look for them.
So thank you, David Roberts, I'm inspired once more to seek out my own Anasazi pot. And thanks for reminding me that there's a strange mystery to life, even without the aliens.
Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
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David Roberts is the author of seventeen books on mountaineering, adventure, and the history of the American Southwest. His essays and articles have appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, and The Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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